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C3 Howitzer Replacement

Old Sweat

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I tend to agree with Colin P. We do not need to replace the whole fleet with highly mobile, extended range equipments, but we should get something to equip the reserves and some of the regular force units. Money, or rather the lack of same, is going to dictate that we opt for something cheap, reliable, and relatively economical to operate. That suggest 105mm calibre, and probably an existing design of proven reliability. It also suggest, to me at least, that it is towed.

That doesn't mean that the requirement for long range systems and/or SPs has gone away. Far from it, but our champagne taste and beer budget dictate otherwise. Now, I am ancient enough to have been in the first recruit squad n the RCA Depot to not have been issued Lee-Enfields, but we should decide what kind of bang we want on the target, and how far out we want to reach beyond the FEBA, and with how much, and take it from there. Everything else is a training aid.
 

daftandbarmy

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suffolkowner said:
towed 120mm mortar?

Infantry customers like a 105mm umbrella, at least. Layer on whatever you like after that AFAIC.

Mortars alone, 120mm or otherwise, can’t replace a rifled tube for most battlefield needs.

 

GR66

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If you're going to replace the C3's with something new then why not take the opportunity to standardize by getting M777's?  The USMC is eliminating 16 x batteries of M777's in their restructuring.

Single ammo type.  Same training between the Reg Force and Reserves.  Gives a couple of options for moving forward in tight budgetary times as well.

Step 1:  Replace the C3 with M777s in the Reserves.

Step 2:  Provide the the Reg Force Arty Regiments with a semi-self propelled capability by purchasing the Supacat HMT 800's for the M777 Portee system
            (http://www.military-today.com/artillery/m777_portee.htm)

Step 3:  When money is available purchase a fully self-propelled 155mm system for the Reg Force (M109, Archer or ideally something LAV mounted if GDLS can come up with it?) and shift the Portee vehicles to the Reserve units to improve their mobility.

 

suffolkowner

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The light artillery seems to be a difficult nut to crack.What is the purpose of the equipment? To give the Reserves something to do? Or to add capacity to the Force as a whole?

It has been suggested in this thread that

Non self propelled artillery are at a serious disadvantage/liability on the modern battlefield?

Reserves can't handle the maintenance of a self propelled variant?

M777 to expensive for the Reserves?



 

daftandbarmy

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GR66 said:
If you're going to replace the C3's with something new then why not take the opportunity to standardize by getting M777's?  The USMC is eliminating 16 x batteries of M777's in their restructuring.

Single ammo type.  Same training between the Reg Force and Reserves.  Gives a couple of options for moving forward in tight budgetary times as well.

Step 1:  Replace the C3 with M777s in the Reserves.

Step 2:  Provide the the Reg Force Arty Regiments with a semi-self propelled capability by purchasing the Supacat HMT 800's for the M777 Portee system
            (http://www.military-today.com/artillery/m777_portee.htm)

Step 3:  When money is available purchase a fully self-propelled 155mm system for the Reg Force (M109, Archer or ideally something LAV mounted if GDLS can come up with it?) and shift the Portee vehicles to the Reserve units to improve their mobility.

This is a great idea, provided that we also make sure the battalions have their 81mm mortars (and 60mm, while we're at it, FFS!!!).
 

CBH99

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That's actually a really good idea.

They can be bought for a fraction of what they normally would be, and I imagine they've been maintained extremely well.


The Reserve force becomes proficient, qualified, and able to deploy on a common M777 system along with the Reg F.  Really closes the training gap.  Really simplifies any pre-deployment training.  And if the Reg Force needs more guns for a deployment, can easily just 'borrow' a few from local reserve units.


 

Dana381

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GR66 said:
Step 2:  Provide the the Reg Force Arty Regiments with a semi-self propelled capability by purchasing the Supacat HMT 800's for the M777 Portee system
            (http://www.military-today.com/artillery/m777_portee.htm)

Why does the undercarriage protrude so low down in front. This looks like it would get stuck on the crown of a gravel road!

I think it is an awesome Idea! The article says it was extensively tested so it must be decent off-road but it sure doesn't look like it with that low hanging armor.
 

OldSolduer

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daftandbarmy said:
This is a great idea, provided that we also make sure the battalions have their 81mm mortars (and 60mm, while we're at it, FFS!!!).

I'm retired now but I agree.

The Mortar Platoon was the CO's only integral indirect fire support.

The 60 was easy to use, and a good 60 person could bring fire to bear in seconds - and didn't require targeting software and 3 huge cases to transport.
 

FJAG

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I've left my thoughts about restructure before so I won't get back into regurgitating that. (Although I've drafted an article about restructuring the forces so as to create a preposition brigade in Europe that I'll put up in a day or so).

My view is fairly simple.

1) leave mortars with the infantry. They need them desperately and in the hands of gunners they'll just be part of political posturing;

2) we need both light, medium and heavy forces for the real world and that means appropriate fire support and other artillery weapon systems and not just training guns.

3) the M777 is a good gun for rapid deployment light and middle weight forces and as such should become a standard for at least some reserve artillery units (whether to round out existing regiments with additional batteries or to create fire support for new formations;

4) the M777 is not a good gun for heavy forces (think Latvia) We need a real SP and it needs to be armoured to survive counterfire. There are too many wannabee wheeled unarmoured self propelled systems that just won't do and we shouldn't waste money on one as an interim system. A supercat portee system provides nil value. There are many, many extra M109s around.

5) maintaining self propelled guns in the reserves is very possible. There are at least a dozen reserve and National Guard battalions (and dozens more of M777, HIMARS and Avenger) down south to prove that. They receive less wear and tear than regular battalions and with the right staff and system it's very doable;

6) we need to get our Reg F artillery leadership to get their heads out of their butts and realize once and for all that there are necessary artillery capabilities that aren't needed day-to-day and but absolutely essential in a crisis and just scream out for reserve roles because they'll never get the PYs for the Regular Force positions: air defence is essential; target acquisition  (from radars to UAVs); real general support (be it an additional M109 regiment or HIMARS); additional forward observer batteries; how about anti-armour (we have nowhere near enough - and could use at least one battery in the brigade). Just think about it. A modern Russian brigade has four manoeuvre battalions and six of various artillery battalions. Why do they do that? Because they're not as stupid as we are!

Latvia is the writing on the wall. It's the wake-up call that should tell everyone that the Army's current striving to be a "symmetric, agile, multi-purpose, combat-ready force" is a crock which will lead to the potential deaths of hundreds of Canadians unnecessarily.  The Army needs to reposition itself into mission specific light, medium and heavy forces and retool their doctrine and equipment holdings accordingly. Anything else is professional negligence. In the words of Gen Belzile:

...no planning is being done for a major war.

This is shortsighted in the extreme. A military that thinks in terms of turning itself into a great host in a crisis is very different from one that is small, thinks small, and plans for very little.

As long as we keep looking for the cheapest training aid gun to replace the C3s, we are thinking small and planning for very little.

:stirpot:
 

Colin Parkinson

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The M777 appears to be a nice piece of kit, but from what I heard the Reserves would struggle to maintain them, store, them, transport them long distance (because most units are far away from artillery ranges) and it means a bigger storage footprint in armouries that might already be constrained. Now it might make sense to turn some Reserve units close to big bases into "Medium artillery" using them and distribute the remaining C3 to other units to make up shortfalls.

If you equipped all the units with M777, I can see that we have maybe at best 3 guns per unit, shortage of prime movers unless the Big Green Bus can haul them, even less ammunition to shoot per exercize, fewer ranges that can accommodate them, not enough gun plumbers or parts and fewer opportunities for people to become detachment commanders. The Reserves used to have 155 batteries, they got rid of them and went to 105mm for a good reason and that was when we had realistic support to keep them going and they were a much simpler gun.

95% of the ongoing maintenance on a 105 C1-C3 is well within the capabilities of the gun crew and requires nothing very special except for the ancient screw operated oil filling device. Can the same be said for the M777? 
 

FJAG

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Colin P said:
The M777 appears to be a nice piece of kit, but from what I heard the Reserves would struggle to maintain them, store, them, transport them long distance (because most units are far away from artillery ranges) and it means a bigger storage footprint in armouries that might already be constrained. Now it might make sense to turn some Reserve units close to big bases into "Medium artillery" using them and distribute the remaining C3 to other units to make up shortfalls.

If you equipped all the units with M777, I can see that we have maybe at best 3 guns per unit, shortage of prime movers unless the Big Green Bus can haul them, even less ammunition to shoot per exercize, fewer ranges that can accommodate them, not enough gun plumbers or parts and fewer opportunities for people to become detachment commanders. The Reserves used to have 155 batteries, they got rid of them and went to 105mm for a good reason and that was when we had realistic support to keep them going and they were a much simpler gun.

95% of the ongoing maintenance on a 105 C1-C3 is well within the capabilities of the gun crew and requires nothing very special except for the ancient screw operated oil filling device. Can the same be said for the M777?

These guys could do it.

CS-2-3-FEATURE-Shackles-and-Shrapnel-04.jpg


Arkansas National Guard Field Artillery Brigade - 1,200 soldiers; one MLRS battalion, one M777 battalion, one HIMARS battalion and one M109 Paladin battalion. All National Guard from Alabama, Tennessee and Arkansas moved their equipment by rail to Wyoming for a two week live fire exercise.

https://citizen-soldiermagazine.com/shackles-and-shrapnel/

Please don't tell me that Canadians are just too stupid. What we are is good at finding excuses for why we can't do something. Like I said: we think small.

:brickwall:
 

Colin Parkinson

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Our politicians don't care, the TB and PW don't care, the public is ignorant of the issues, a CDS and many senior staff would have to sacrifice their careers to start turning things around or a "General Strike" across the forces resulting in things getting fixed. Even then the politicians are better at distracting the public, than the senior staff is at educating them.
 

FJAG

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Colin P said:
Our politicians don't care, the TB and PW don't care, the public is ignorant of the issues, a CDS and many senior staff would have to sacrifice their careers to start turning things around or a "General Strike" across the forces resulting in things getting fixed. Even then the politicians are better at distracting the public, than the senior staff is at educating them.

A CDS is at the pinnacle of his career and has nothing to sacrifice. That said many of the needed changes have to happen at NDHQ which means what you really need is a strong Minister. Good luck with that.

I'm actually very interested in seeing what Dominic Cummings Integrated Security and Defence Review will come up with in the UK. He's a bit of a radical wild card but maybe that's what's needed to unclog the system of it's careerist civilian and military bureaucrats.

:pop:
 

Colin Parkinson

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My primary concern right now is that the C3 fleet is on the cusp of complete failure with no hope of anything but a few 81mm mortars to replace them, at which point the entire Reserve Artillery becomes mortar platoons with airs and inflated opinion of oneself. The warning bells of that oncoming failure have been ringing loudly for quite sometime and failure of leadership from the military, political and the Public Service is to blame.
 

MilEME09

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Colin P said:
My primary concern right now is that the C3 fleet is on the cusp of complete failure with no hope of anything but a few 81mm mortars to replace them, at which point the entire Reserve Artillery becomes mortar platoons with airs and inflated opinion of oneself. The warning bells of that oncoming failure have been ringing loudly for quite sometime and failure of leadership from the military, political and the Public Service is to blame.

Given what I am seeing during inspections, I'd give the C3 fleet another 5 years tops in best case scenario.
 

dapaterson

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The RCA is its own worst enemy, having failed to convince the Army of its relevance (Reg or Res).  Hence three dozen guns, towed, total, as our Reg F indirect fire capability.  Fine for striking mud huts at a distance; not so useful for a peer or near peer scenario.  Oh, and AD was also permitted to wither into oblivion.

That that situation could arise while the Army farted around with idiotic concepts like TAPV and CCV speaks volumes of the failure of institutional leadership within the RCA community.
 

FJAG

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dapaterson said:
The RCA is its own worst enemy, having failed to convince the Army of its relevance (Reg or Res).  Hence three dozen guns, towed, total, as our Reg F indirect fire capability.  Fine for striking mud huts at a distance; not so useful for a peer or near peer scenario.  Oh, and AD was also permitted to wither into oblivion.

That that situation could arise while the Army farted around with idiotic concepts like TAPV and CCV speaks volumes of the failure of institutional leadership within the RCA community.

Couldn't agree more although the fact that Army leadership itself (of whatever corps or branch) allows this to happen is also indicative of a deeply flawed system for whom doctrine comes after branch affiliation (That said it was Hillier--a tanker--who pushed to get rid of tanks in favour of MGS  :facepalm:)

:cheers:
 

MilEME09

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Taken directly from one of our own PAM'S,

"The division artillery brigade provides the indirect fire support for the division. There are three medium close support regiments, a heavy general support regiment, a composite air defence regiment, and a multiple rocket launcher regiment."

"The medium close support regiment It is composed of four tengun batteries - each of which has a maintenance detachment as part of its support troop - and a regimental headquarters which has a maintenance section as part of its administration troop.

A heavy general support regiment has three batteries of four large calibre guns, normally 203 mm or larger. A composite air defence regiment has two batteries of low-level surface-to-air missiles, and two batteries of low-level guns. A multiple rocket launcher regiment is equipped with three batteries of ten multiple rocket launchers."


If this is what our doctrines is, no ones clearly following it.
 

Old Sweat

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MilEME09 said:
Taken directly from one of our own PAM'S,

"The division artillery brigade provides the indirect fire support for the division. There are three medium close support regiments, a heavy general support regiment, a composite air defence regiment, and a multiple rocket launcher regiment."

"The medium close support regiment It is composed of four tengun batteries - each of which has a maintenance detachment as part of its support troop - and a regimental headquarters which has a maintenance section as part of its administration troop.

A heavy general support regiment has three batteries of four large calibre guns, normally 203 mm or larger. A composite air defence regiment has two batteries of low-level surface-to-air missiles, and two batteries of low-level guns. A multiple rocket launcher regiment is equipped with three batteries of ten multiple rocket launchers."


If this is what our doctrines is, no ones clearly following it.

That looks like the organization that came out of the combat development studies of the late seventies, and later morphed into Corps 86. It was recognized at the time that it was largely composed of "wish lists" and was far too rich for our blood, and just about anybody's else. With the collapse of the Warsaw Pact and the end of the Cold War, we eventually got into the era of the three block war. We went to Afghanistan conditioned to fight it, whether this happened or not is moot. What I feel strongly about is that we threw away just about a century's worth of experience in pursuit of precision fires, with air delivered precision munitions the preferred option over land-based indirect fire.

Now, we see the possibility of conventional general combat increasing, and we seem unable to prepare for it. We need a doubling or tripling or quadrupling of our close support - be it 105, 155 or a mix - as well as general support composed of precision long range rockets, and probably some tubes and maybe some armed UAVs. Add in air defence and locating (my fingers twitch when I type STA) along with a command and control apparatus, and maybe we could begin to consider ourselves as a real army.
 
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